Uncertainty and lack of conviction characterized today's markets ahead of
Monday earnings announcement and Tuesday's Presidential election.
The end of this week for the
Dow Jones Industrial Average looked a lot different from last Friday's 210-point gain. Today, the index took an about-face and, though it was off its lows, ended firmly in the red.
Nasdaq Composite Index had a bit of a bumpy morning but spent the afternoon modestly on the upside. Not a strong finish for the tech-heavy index, but at least it was in positive territory.
One piece of news that didn't help the Dow was the
, which showed that job growth slowed in October, but that unemployment remained at its 30-year low rate of 3.9%, while average hourly earnings rose. Labor markets that are too tight and wages that are too high are inflationary, and inflation, of course, is considered bad for the economy and for business. Investors were hoping for an indication that the
Fed would ease up on interest rates.
The wage inflation number is particularly important, considering signs from yesterday's
that showed the rate of worker compensation was rising faster than expected.
wrote a separate
story that looked at what the jobs report says about the economy.
The Dow had its work cut out for it, fighting drag from 19 of the 30 blue-chips.
took away the most with almost 21 negative points.
also weighed it down for a total of about 27 points.
Meanwhile, the Comp got support from
earnings announcement last night, which
beat estimates by a penny. Though the company's top-line revenue growth was weaker than expected for the quarter, it said it was comfortable with fourth-quarter estimates. Qualcomm jumped 12.3% and was one of the Nasdaq's most actively traded stocks.
The comeback stock of the day was the ever-volatile
, which ended the day 28% higher. The stock jumped on news that it had signed a patent license agreement with
. Earlier this week, the stock fell 25% at one point after a report came out that
was cutting back on its use of Rambus technology.
Unfortunately, the Nasdaq also had a couple poor performers today, namely
, which got crushed after reporting disappointing results for the third quarter, as well as layoffs and the departure of its CFO. A multitude of analysts cut earnings estimates for the next couple of years, and
downgraded the stock today. priceline ended the day down 31%, or $2.13, to $4.72.
Richard Williams, vice president and market analyst at
, said the Comp's modest rally today reflected business-to-business stocks working their way higher on an otherwise sideways Nasdaq. "I believe they are rebounding from their early October selloff," he said.
He said that once Tuesday's election results make themselves felt in the market, which could take a few weeks, his models "indicate the Nasdaq will retest the 3026 level."
The other factor that seemed to be affecting investors was Cisco's earnings announcement, due out Monday. Williams, who doesn't cover the company, said, "Cisco appears to be suffering from the same potential slowing that other highly valued large-cap tech stocks are subject to."
He added, "Cisco may provide insight to potential slowing that we see in other companies."
bounced almost 9%, or $7.38, to $89.63, on news that
was making eyes at the cereal maker, which also sells Gatorade. The news pushed Pepsi down 2.7%.
And the NYSE today looked like it had been visited by monument-wrapping conceptual artist
Christo. The front facade was decked out in blue in honor of German insurance company
addition of its ADRs on the NYSE.
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Breadth was negative on the NYSE and positive on the Comp on moderate volume.
New York Stock Exchange: 1347 advancers, 1434 decliners, 993 million shares. 74 new 52-week highs, 32 new lows.
Nasdaq Stock Market: 2060 advancers, 1828 decliners, 1.8 billion shares. 77 new highs, 80 new lows.
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Most Active Stocks
NYSE Most Actives
- AT&T (T) - Get Report: 25.3 million shares.
Corning (GLW) - Get Report: 25.1 million shares.
Sprint PCS: 24.2 million shares.
Nasdaq Most Actives
- WorldCom (WCOM) : 80.5 million shares.
Oracle (ORCL) - Get Report: 63.5 million shares.
Cisco (CSCO) - Get Report: 58.1 million shares.
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Retail and e-finance stocks suffered today, as did transports.
S&P Retail Index
was off 2%. Yesterday, most components rallied on mixed October same-store sales results. Blue-chips
were a couple of the components that ended on the downside.
TheStreet.com E-Finance Index
dropped 2.7%. Component
was the object of profit-taking today. It was down 14.4%. The stock bounced more than 45% yesterday after it announced better-than-expected earnings forecasts for 2003.
Transport stocks -- particularly airlines -- had a bumpy ride as well. The
American Stock Exchange Airline Index
fell 1%, as did the
Dow Jones Transportation Average
United Parcel Service
was down 1.3% after it said it would acquire at least 13 pre-owned MD-11 planes from U.S. aircraft manufacturer
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Bonds were down sharply most of the day following mixed signals from the employment data showing that average hourly earnings were rising faster than expected. But in late trading, they turned up, with the 10-year note even ending slightly up on the day.
The benchmark 10-year
Treasury note ended up 2/32 to 99 14/32, pushing the yield to 5.827%.
Treasury bond was 1/32 lower, to 105 13/32, and yielding 5.863%.
) for October presented a mixed picture. Nonfarm payrolls grew 137,000, below expectation of a rise of 184,000 and down from September's 195,000. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.9%. Average hourly earnings however, rose 0.4% ahead of expectation of a 0.3% rise and well above the September increase of 0.2%.
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The major European indices were mixed at the close.
European markets had plenty to think about Friday morning, with news that the U.K.'s
Bank of Scotland
have held preliminary merger talks, and confirmation that the
European Central Bank
intervened to buy euros in the foreign exchange market. That's its second move in recent times to prop up the battered single currency of the euro zone.
separate story on the action.
The euro closed higher on the day after the intervention, at $0.8673. It reached as high as $0.88, though, shortly after the intervention. It had hit an all-time low last month of $0.82. The ECB said later that it had not asked any of its
Group of Seven
partners to help in the intervention.
was down 6.6 points to 6385.4. Over on the Continent, the
in Paris was down 1.39 points to 6398.92, and the
in Frankfurt was up 39.63 points to 7128.27.
equity markets ended the week on a positive note, as the Nasdaq's rally Thursday buoyed tech shares. Tokyo's market was closed for a holiday.
The yen closed higher against the dollar at 106.96.
As Japanese investors enjoyed a three-day weekend, elsewhere in the region, bank and telecom issues were snapped up alongside technology stocks.
In Hong Kong, the
index rose 302.6, or 2%, to 15,594.1, as
rose HK$1.65, or 3.3%, to 51.25 ($6.57) and
surged HK$3.50, or 3.1%, to 116.50. Internet firm
Pacific Century Cyber Works
rose HK$0.20, or 3.5%, to 5.95.
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